Soybean growers cheer Colombian trade agreement
(DesMoines Register) – The American Soybean Association Monday praised the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which will take effect May 15.
“The enactment of the free trade agreement with Colombia next month is a tremendous opportunity for soybean farmers, as it will expand a valuable export market for our products,” said ASA First Vice President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss.
“We are making steady progress toward regaining lost market share in Colombia, and this agreement will markedly advance that progress. We applaud the efforts of the Obama and Santos Administrations in seeing the free trade agreement with Colombia enacted next month.”
Iowa is the nation’s largest soybean producer.
As part of the agreement, more than half of all U.S. farm exports to Colombia—including soybeans and soybean meal and flour—will become duty-free, with virtually all of the remaining tariffs to be eliminated over the next 15 years. The agreement also provides duty free tariff rate quotas (TRQ) on soybean oil, as well as livestock and dairy exports that utilize soybean inputs.
Soybeans and soybean products are the largest U.S. agricultural export commodity, totaling nearly 1.5 billion bushels in 2011, with a value of more than $22 billion. Last year, the U.S. exported more than $182 million in soybeans and soybean products to Colombia and $832 million for all agricultural products.
The International Trade Commission (ITC) estimates that the agreement will expand overall exports to Colombia by more than $1.1 billion and support thousands of additional American jobs.